Season Finale – Franklin, Continental and Whiskey

The Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company

Speakeasies have become a favorite on Debora the Explora’s Bucket List this winter. We approached the award-winning Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company for a second attempt. We missed it on a previous chilly night when the street was filled with a long line ahead of us. But this Friday night we made it and it was worth the wait, not just for the cocktail concoctions but the surprise that was awaiting us!

Out on the sidewalk a handlebar-mustached fellow gave us the green light. Through the dark doorway we entered into a narrow, dark prohibition den with black walls illuminated by chandeliers and tea lights. Booths for intimate tete-a-tete conversations ran along one side, facing a bar that ran the length of the room. The host escorted us to seats at the glamorous bar where the bartender immediately offered his services. The drinks were sophisticated and original, topped with fresh fruit and poured over massive handmade ice cubes. We ordered an old-fashioned and a specialty bourbon cocktail.

Here is where the surprise occurred: My husband was recording our visit with his GoPro camera which inspired a conversation with two handsome young guys sitting next to me– Kyle & Rick. They were so funny! The playful conversation followed and we had so many laughs together that they invited us to join them for dinner. Drinks on Kyle & Rick and an invite to dinner. A first!

bucket-9 bucket-2 bucket-1

Website: http://www.thefranklinbar.com/

The Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company
112 S 18th St, Fl 1st,
Philadelphia, PA 19103
267-467-3277

In The News

Visit Philly
http://www.visitphilly.com/restaurants-dining/philadelphia/the-franklin-mortgage-and-investment-company/
Esquire.com
http://www.esquire.com/food-drink/bars/reviews/a9972/franklin-bar-0611/?click=welcome-ad
CBS Philly
http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/top-lists/top-secret-bars-in-philadelphia/


 

The Continental Mid-town

Walking a few blocks, we continued our evening at The Continental Mid-town, a Steven Starr establishment. The dining room is impressive with a vaulted ceiling, two-stories high, featuring an enormous chandelier made up of nearly 100 lightbulbs dropping from vertical stems. Around the second floor perimeter is a railing lined with suspended egg-shaped chairs, swinging and facing each other like love-birds.

Packed with diners, the hostess directed us to an elevator that carried us to the rooftop patio while we waited under the stars and continued the comedy! Rick is an avid photographer and shared a photo ap “snap seed “with easy to use filters. We hardly had time to enjoy the patio when we were called to our table. The food was Starr quality. We ordered small plates of roasted brussel sprouts, creamy macaroni and cheese, and pork tacos wrapped with scallion ribbons. We finished with decadent flourless brownies, pure ice cream and chocolate mousse served with cups of joe in oversize yet graceful cups. Again, a gift from Kyle and Rick. Oh stop! Thank you.

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Website: http://www.continentalmidtown.com/

Continental Mid-Town
1801 Chestnut St,
Philadelphia, PA 19103
215-567-1800

In The News

Fodor’s Travel
http://www.fodors.com/world/north-america/usa/pennsylvania/philadelphia/restaurants/reviews/continental-mid-town-428773/

The Drink Nation
http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/284-Continental-Midtown

Philly.com
http://www.philly.com/philly/food/restaurants/5697286.html


 

Village Whiskey

My energy picked up on the way to our third venue. Owned by Chef Jose Garces, Village Whiskey has been on my bucket list for two years! In the past, the bar was always too full as a walk-in or there were no reservations when I called ahead. Arriving at midnight seems to be the key this bourbon and burger joint, famous for duck fat fries.

A classic shape, it is a long, dark and narrow bar decorated with vintage black and white floor tiles. They are known for many kinds of whiskey obviously! With room in our stomachs for only one night cap, we toasted to our new friends with plenty more laughs–until we explore again.

bucket-8 bucket-7

Website: http://philadelphia.villagewhiskey.com/

Village Whiskey
118 South 20th Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
215-665-1088

In The News

Visit Philly
http://www.visitphilly.com/restaurants-dining/philadelphia/village-whiskey/

Zagat
https://www.zagat.com/r/village-whiskey-philadelphia

Philly.com
http://articles.philly.com/2009-12-06/entertainment/24988396_1_burger-bourbon-food-network


Dock Street Brewing Company

IMG_3297The Dock Street Brewing Company is housed in an old West Philadelphia fire house. Serving up delicious pizza, they are known more for their craft ales that won awards from the 1980’s to today. Their previous location was near Logan Circle in Center City when the 1980’s television drama “Thirtysomething” referred to their brews in their episodes.

Man Full of Trouble #manfulloftrouble  is one of their brews that refers to a Philadelphia Revolutionary War tavern. Behind the bar, the brewing equipment where they tap the beers regularly can be admired through large internal windows. The young hipster crowd with knit caps, beards and jeans looked like college students. We ran into another friend named Cory who works at the local university.

The interior architectural bones of the venue make an attractive backdrop to the dining room. Arched brick windows recall the bays used by the fire trucks of the past. The space is cavernous with high ceilings and lots of rustic tables nestled on the painted concrete floor between the front door and the back wall. Patrons also sit along the serpentine-shaped bar that extends the entire length of the large room, in front of a glowing wood-fire brick pizza oven. The wait staff passed back and forth all night with pizzas.

This night we met up with two sets of friends who have come along with us to explore other places this winter. The six buckteers! Bill & Mary split a pizza with us while Eric O. & Brian ordered calamari and French fried potatoes and leeks, washed down with Man Full of Trouble. We ordered brews & wine and I enjoyed my mock-tail seltzer water that was served in a bottle. Fancy!

March 13, 2015


Web site: http://www.dockstreetbeer.com/

701 S 50th St,

Philadelphia, PA 19143

Near the intersection of S 50th St and Willows Ave

(215) 726-2337

In The News

Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club
http://www.beermonthclub.com/dock-street-bohemian-pilsner.htm

Beer Advocate
http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/15834/

The Drink Nation
http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/190-Dock-Street-Brewing-Company

New York Daily News
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/brewery-walking-dead-beer-real-brains-article-1.1734298

 


Red Hot and Blue

IMG_6217After a winter storm dropped 8 inches of snow, we dug ourselves out and headed to Cherry Hill New Jersey’s Red Hot and Blue Restaurant to hear some great blues and eat Memphis Barbeque — worth the trip! It is a bar & restaurant combination next to a Holiday Inn on Route 70.

When we first arrived we couldn’t figure out where to sit. To be honest, the feng shei in there is terrible because the entire bar and dining room is in the shape of a boomerang! A little too bright, a little too long, but we were there for (a) the SISTER BLUE BAND and (b) the BBQ!

As tradition dictates we chose bar stools, however it was wrong for so many reasons. The band was going to perform at the far end of the boomerang shape so we wanted to sit in the center of the room, but our seats were across from the front door–every time someone walked in an arctic blast came in and hit us!

IMG_6218Nonetheless, despite the chill we ordered tasty ribs of three different flavors: Memphis dry rub, pepper garlic, and a crazy spicy vinegar that drove our tongues a little crazy. Along with the ribs we ordered a healthy “chopped salad” which was packed with a rainbow of veggies!

Once the music started we paid our dinner tab and moved to a table in the main dining room. The color red dominated the decor. Red and brown patterned wallpaper was very Holiday-Inn-mid-century, on purpose. The wooden dining booths and tables had red veneers. Suspended over each table were pendants with big drum shades displaying the umber trapezoid shapes from the 1960s. Adjoining the dining room, a separate room was filled with a private party.

Sister Blue was in fantastic form, singing and playing blues with her full band. Their sound is engaging, fun and energizing with a playlist that ranges from classic blues to modern R&B. When they started playing Ike and Tina Turner’s Proud Mary –“Rolling on the River”– the folks in the party room came out to listen. Sister Blue shouted “Come on out sisters!” Suddenly the dining room floor was filled with beautiful black women dancing and singing with fantastic voices. The band yelled out “It’s church!” So fun! Lots of smiling faces, with Tina dance moves all over the place. We stayed until the lights came on, around midnight.

March 6, 2015


2175 Rt-70 W,
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

Near the intersection of RT-70 W and Sayer Ave

(856) 665-7427

Local website: http://www.redhotanblue.com/index3.htm

Main website: http://redhotandblue.com/central/

In The News

Yelp
http://www.yelp.com/biz/red-hot-and-blue-restaurant-cherry-hill

New Jersey Monthly
http://njmonthly.com/restaurantreviews/red-hot–blue.html

Bloomberg Business
http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=10039853


Devil’s Pocket

Devils Pocket logoI invited a friend, Eric O., to join us for the bucket list and asked him to recommend a place. He immediately named Devil’s Pocket, a new gastro pub. Curious! We headed into an old rough and tumble neighborhood in Philadelphia known as Devil’s Pocket. With help from industrious angels it is becoming a gentrified place.

Devil’s Pocket is owned and operated by Marcus Versace, Eric’s friend. The chef, Andrew Wagner, hails from a popular Philadelphia restaurant where he brought with him his recipes for delicious comfort food such as mashed potatoes. The two partners are a match made in heaven.

Maurin_QuinaThe pub is located on a corner with understated signage but I spotted the logo on the front door window. Inside, the first impression is bright and striking! The intimate space is adorned with a gallery of devil art, hung on cream embossed walls with red beadboard below the chair rail. One well-known piece is a french advertising poster featuring green devil —Maurin Quina by Leonetto Cappiello. The attractive “Pick-Pockets Wall of Shame” gallery is hilarious. After speaking to Marcus about the history of the neighborhood, the selection of art about thieves makes sense.

There was a nice crowd on a freezing Friday night. We found two spots at the bar which had place settings ready for hungry patrons and brought over a third stool. Marcus came right over to welcome us when he spotted Eric. We enjoyed their specialty jerk chicken wings, chili, chicken soup, hummus platter and a sumptuous BLT — super-think bacon, lettuce and tomato on butter-grilled artisan bread. We washed it down with craft beer and spiked hot apple cider. Yum.

Please press play:

Eric’s friend, Brian, joined us and we took over the end of the bar with conversation. Marcus graciously granted us an interview and we learned about the whirlwind opening just six months earlier in October 2014. We enjoyed a devil-may-care evening and do plan to return in warmer weather when the bank of windows are opened to the outside world.

Feb 13, 2015


Devil’s Pocket
Address: 2425 Grays Ferry Avenue, Philadelphia, PA
Phone: 215-735-2202

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Devils-Pocket-Food-Spirits/1546674502243484

In The News

Philly.com
http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/the-insider/Devils-Pocket-Food–Spirits.html

Yelp
http://www.yelp.com/biz/devils-pocket-food-and-spirits-philadelphia

FooBooz Philly Mag
http://www.phillymag.com/restaurant/devils-pocket-food-spirits/


Four Dogs Tavern

4dog-signFour Dogs Tavern was on my bucket list tonight because live music was provided by two fantastic musicians,  Johnny Never and Zep Harpo.  Favorite performers of ours, the duo plays “awesome Mississippi Delta blues, Piedmoont blues and East Texas Blues.”

The building is historic—old fieldstone covered in plaster located on winding tree-lined roads, out in the country. The building that houses the Four Dogs Tavern was originally the stables to the Marshalton Inn & Tavern, founded in 1804. The Marshalton Inn was popular to travelers due to the midway location between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

On the way to the entrance we peered through the pane and muntin windows to see the band and the packed house. Inside were meandering rooms with old, wide-plank floors and diagonally-panelled walls with a fireplace burning brightly in the corner.

Please press play:

We found seats near Zep and Johnny and sat down for a Gastro pub experience with a fine dining price tag. Usually I don’t mention the price but we were a little surprised tonight. Just a little sticker shock. One glass of Jamison was $12 and one bowl of snapper soup cost $10 so the seltzer and cranberry mocktail that I enjoyed saved us a couple of bucks. We ordered jerk chicken wings and gruyere cheese & smoked salmon on sourdough bread which was deeelicious.

During the break the musicians joined us and we had some good laughs. Well-heeled patrons were friendly and photo-bombed our photos! The staff was super friendly and efficient and we stayed until the music stopped and most of the patrons went home.

Menu highlights include charcuterie boards & cheese flights, duck pate & charred octopus, and meatloaf & slow cooked pork.

History

History buffs may find this interesting: Just 27 years prior to the opening of the Marshalton Inn, the Village of Marshalton was central to the Battle of Brandywine in 1777. My ancestor was a revolutionary soldier in that battle! More History:

Feb 6, 2015


Four Dogs Tavern

Address: 1300 West Strasburg Road, West Chester, PA 19382
Phone: (610) 692-4367
Website: http://thefourdogstavern.com/

In The News

Yelp
http://www.yelp.com/biz/four-dogs-tavern-west-chester

The Brandywine.com
http://www.thebrandywine.com/dine/fourdog/four_dog_tavern.html

Zagat
https://www.zagat.com/r/the-four-dogs-tavern-west-chester


Tavern on the Hill

signageI was in the mood to hear some live jazz and clicked over to the WRTI website to see if they had a link to local jazz events. I found a link that led me to not just one but three venues that night! Two of the bands were in Center City and one was a musician in a tavern in Chestnut Hill — “Reverend Chris on the Piano”. The website stated “it’s New Orleans Piano Night in Philadelphia; Solo piano, swing, boogie, blues and much much more.” Being a marathon consumer of HBO’s hit show “Treme” about Katrina and NOLA, the chance to hear that kind of jazz in person on demand was very lucky. I called the restaurant  and someone said “Yes, he is playing and usually performs until 11pm”.  Excited!

Friday nights this January have been snowy and cold and so it was again. We approached the building, spotting a red waving flag under the streetlight — at the top of the cobblestone street in Philadelphia’s charming Chestnut Hill section.

Walking into the narrow, dark tavern we penetrated a dense crowd of patrons. Seats were being shuffled at the front of the bar, with someone saying “Take our seats”, pointing to the back. He introduced himself to us as Nick and we had a fun chat with him about the neighborhood. We discussed our blog and our previous discoveries in the Hill area. Nick, a local patron, set us up with perfect seats in the corner with a view of the dining room, Reverend Chris and his piano and the bar.

A landmark of the neighborhood, I remembered that I had lunched here a few years ago. Outside above the front door, there is a real pineapple mounted to the building which is a symbol of friendship and hospitality. The restaurant is small and romantic with beadboard and floral wallpaper on the walls, and dark wood everywhere — tables, carved moldings, a tin ceiling and an elaborately decorated bar.  Fresh greens were on the tabletops.

Please press play (Music: “The Treme Song” by John Boutté and by “I Wanna Be The Big Chief” piano by Reverend Chris, from Reverend Chris and the High Rollers Viper Mad)

The lovely bartender served us our mocktails and cocktails and we waited to finally hear the mix of NOLA and blues music. We thought we arrived during a break, but we were so disappointed when we realized Reverend Chris looked like he was saying goodnight to some fans. “Uh-oh. Noooo.” When I asked Reverend Chris he confirmed it, but he generously gave us two CDs! He is quite funny! We chatted with him a bit and planned to return because he is a constant provider of fine music here on Friday nights. Just next time we will get there way before 10PM! Thanks Reverend Chris!

Friday Jan. 30, 2015


Website: http://www.tavernonthehill.biz/

Tavern On the Hill

Address: 8636 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118

Phone:(215) 247-9948

In The News

Yelp

http://www.yelp.com/biz/tavern-on-the-hill-philadelphia

Urbanspoon

http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/21/1435741/restaurant/Chestnut-Hill/Tavern-on-the-Hill-Philadelphia

Trip Advisor

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60795-d2076088-r123117127-

Tavern_on_the_Hill-Philadelphia_Pennsylvania.html


La Peg Brasserie

A french brasserie set in a converted historic pump house with a huge outdoor patio.

lapegAlthough Philly was waiting for the arrival of a Nor’easter, it wasn’t supposed to start snowing until 11pm so we headed out to explore. The evening’s quest was a restaurant known as La Peg, recommended by our friend, Matt Money, the bartender. Great choice!

Recently opened in the fall 2014 it is new on the scene. La Peg is housed in the Fringe Arts Building on Columbus Boulevard underneath the expansive and illuminated Ben Franklin Bridge. Inside, the industrial chic space is cavernous. It was previously a pump house with snaking pipes, heavy chains, iron beams and valved tanks overhead. A chunky clock the size of a mack truck tire is suspended in an iron grid.
The windows stretch from the ground to the second-floor rooftop, with views of the bridge, the Delaware River and the snow! On the sidewalk, diners wearing heels stepped gingerly on the ice. Patrons dined on the main floor or in the loft above the exposed kitchen. All seats at the bar were filled so we waved hello to Money and found a two-top in the corner.

Please press play:

A five-piece band “Arty and the Hot Katz” entertained the crowd. One of the musicians was enwrapped in a sousaphone–the marching band instrument that resembles a tuba! The five guys wearing hats–bowler, fedora, cap– produced instrumental covers of famous rock and roll tunes…More Than A Feeling by Boston, Pinball Wizard by The Who, Midnight Rider by the Allman Brothers. Dare I say, it was comical to see and hear a sousaphone and violin producing classic rock tunes instead of guitars. But, their sound was fantastic and the customers clapped loudly after every set. Bravo!

We left early to beat the snow storm and next time we need to try out the menu.


La Peg
website: http://lapegbrasserie.com/

Address: 140 North Christopher Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone:(215) 375-7744

In The News

FooBooz Philly Magazine
http://www.phillymag.com/restaurant/la-peg/

Philly Eater
http://philly.eater.com/2014/8/25/6166063/la-peg-now-open-at-fringearts

Zagat
http://www.zagat.com/b/philadelphia/la-peg-whats-on-the-menu-at-peter-woolseys-new-brasserie


Randstead Room

RR

Randstead Room

The theme of the night was hidden bars! We arranged a rendez-vous spot at a garage and waited for our friends Mary and Bill. Just a few steps away there was a rugged wooden door with a name painted above, “The Back Bar”, so we ducked inside to discover a tiny hidden bar. We texted Bill and Mary to find us. The small room had a short bar ten seats long in front of an ornately carved wooden wall. A colorful, illuminated stained glass mural shined along the back wall. The panels featured comical cartoon chickens having drinks in a pub! After a text from Mary “where are you?” I quickly realized there was a mix-up and we had parked in the wrong garage. We had not meant to be hiding from them–luckily they found us!

The attractive bartender named Diane explained that The Back Bar was actually part of “The Happy Rooster”. Both bars, decorated with roosters everywhere, were noisy and busy. The rustic unisex bathrooms had short, wooden doors with wobbly latches and tin wall tiles, much like an outhouse on a farm, and Bill had to duck his head to walk into one!

Now for the destination – Randstead Room. Will we get in tonight? We thanked Diane and bundled up to walk in the frigid cold. Gloved-fingers crossed! Down 3 blocks and up two, we turned into the dark alley. Visible at the end of the street blocked with a chain link fence and dumpsters was red light on the left. I warned them that the last time we approached there was a shadowy guy smoking a cigarette but this time the street was empty. A black door with the markings “RR” above a concrete stoop was the only indication of an entrance.

Please press play:

We entered the narrow, entrance hall dimly lit by a red light. When our eyes adjusted to the darkness we viewed clusters of young people lingering in their winter coats–the dreaded wait-listers ahead of us. I walked up to the host to determine how lucky we were going to be. There were two groups before us and we were welcome to leave our phone number on the wait-list and return if we got a call. Determined to stay put, the host, whose name was Will, was professional and accommodated our perseverence pleasantly. Peering through the small diamond-shaped window in the door between us and the coveted “Randstead Room” we could make out the red decor. And Bill could also see two pairs of open seats at the bar. Soon Will gave us the green light to enter and somehow the guests were asked to shuffle down and make room for us to sit together. We were in!

The decor was very mid-century, as promised. It was a 1960s lounge with zebra-print carpeting and a large chandelier with red dangling crystals. Hung on the wallpapered walls around the cozy room were semi-nude paintings of reclining women staring back at us with bedroom eyes and tossled hair. The red bar top was edged with plump, padded black vinyl. The bar itself faced opposite red leather booths, filled with patrons. Rock-n-roll was on the speakers playing guitar, brass and drums. Derek, our bartender, provided cocktail menus and recommended the “Bartenders Choice”– just tell him what kind of spirits you like and he creates. Blackberry vodka smile fizz, a house-made ginger ale, a Bourbonella and a simple Skotch Sour were served, topped with fresh fruit from the bowls lined up in front of us on the bar top. The month-long wait was worth it. Next time we will order appetizers created in El Ray’s kitchen.

Randstead Room is physically hidden but is well known for its ties to El Ray, on Market Street. Another Steven Starr establishment, I read that you can ask the bartender at El Ray to lead you to RR by way of their kitchen.

January 16, 2015


Website: www.elreyrestaurant.com

Ranstead Room
2013 Ranstead St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 563-3330

In The News

Philly Magazine – FooBooz
http://www.phillymag.com/restaurant/ranstead-room/

The Drink Nation
http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/398-Ranstead-Room-The

Philadelphia Weekly
http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/food/reviews/ranstead-roomel-rey.html

Uwishunu
http://www.uwishunu.com/2011/06/summer-spotlight-stephen-starrs-ranstead-room-has-a-refreshing-new-cocktail-list/


Garrett Hill Ale House

Garrett Hill Ale House – “Home away from home”

GH logoTHE BURBS! With the weather extremely frigid the willingness to drive too far was low. With a quick search near my zip code we found a few new choices, and one of them was Garrett Hill Ale House in Bryn Mawr. Known to the locals and the college crowd, the pub had some great reviews so we headed there.

From the street, the look was definitely inviting. There was the silhouette of a band in the window and people inside. The decor was modern with light wood bar and  flooring. We found two spots together at the bar, which is where we prefer to sit. There were 30 beers on tap with a menu describing each, which brings me to a confession. The current trend of offering so many craft brews on tap is a mystery to me. How do they offer so many kinds of fresh beer?

The bartender took care of us immediately. My bucketeer partner was packing his GoPro camera to document our night and captured our fun. Please press play:

Garrett Hill Ale House is known for their chef. They get a brownie point because the kitchen closed by 10pm but they extended for us. We ordered parmesan-rosemary wings which were huge and a surprise dish — duck spring rolls. Had to try them of course. Thin pastry with shredded veggies and duck meat rolled inside and fried — delicious!

The 5-person band, Dickens and Ballsworth, had an old-school playlist with sounds from The Big Chill and Purple Rain. The vocalist who could practically take a cover and make it his own. The boisterous crowd was filled with personal friends of the band but they were worthy of the loud applause.

There is an important rule about the bucket list — sometimes you have to make an effort to pull ourself out of your cocoon even though you may not want to. You could marathon stream boob-tube content but it’s always worth the effort to head out into the real world, even on a 22-degree night.

January 9, 2015


Garrett Hill Ale House
Address: 157 Garrett Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Phone:(610) 519-0500

Website: http://www.garretthillalehouse.com/

In The News

Philly Tap Finder
http://www.phillytapfinder.com/bar/garrett-hill-ale-house/

Main Line Today
http://www.mainlinetoday.com/Main-Line-Today/Resources/Restaurants/index.php/name/Garrett-Hill-Ale-House/listing/28618/

Philadelphia Menu Pages
http://philadelphia.menupages.com/restaurants/garrett-hill-ale-house/menu

Drink Nation
http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/2755-Garrett-Hill-Ale-House#


Town Hall Liquors

sign1I attended the lovely afternoon wedding of my friends’ daughter on a Monday in College Park near Washington, D.C. After the wedding reception, later in the evening, the guests gathered in the hotel “dome” area to unwind and congratulate the parents of the bride.

Our celebrations were a bit noisy so the hotel staff asked us to move the party into one of the rooms, which we did, but it was a small space for the talkative bunch. Someone said we should try to find a bar nearby, but being a Monday night there were few options and most of the pubs were closed early due to winter break.

I jumped into action, opened up my smart phone, and found one just a five-minute walk away. Then, I shared my blog with a few critical people, Chip the father-of-the-bride and Craig his son. They were surprised to see that I had experience with this task! How can you argue with Debora the Explora? It was easy to agree and said let’s give it a try.

logoWe outfitted ourselves with winter jackets and hiked up the street to the place called Town Hall Liquors. From the outside the establishment was looking rather bleak. There was a large, tacky highway sign with individual plastic letters spelling out the prices of the spirits. Walking across the asphalt parking lot, we headed for the front door with a plain, illuminated sign. I think the whole group began to doubt my suggestion.

Upon entering we were all pleasantly surprised. Within the large space there pinball games, pool tables and posters on the walls with a circular bar in the center. This college bar had a 360 degree bar offering good positions for people watching. A few patrons looked up and gave us a friendly nod.

The young bartender explained there were a few good draft brews on tap and he began serving us immediately. chipshandWe enjoyed the rock and roll music that Chip’s son played “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf and at the end of the night our tabs were very low and our satisfaction high.

This bar also has an on-site liquor store specializing in kegs.

Dec 29, 2014


Town Hall Liquors
8135 Baltimore Ave
College Park, MD 20740
Phone number (301) 474-3322

In The News

Yelp
http://www.yelp.com/biz/town-hall-liquors-college-park

Shop College Park
http://shopcollegepark.org/shops/town-hall/

College Park Patch
http://patch.com/maryland/collegepark/pinball-wizards-take-over-town-hall-liquors

The Washington Poat
http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/bars-clubs/town-hall-liquors,887033.html


The Dandelion

As you can imagine, December is a month packed with holiday planning and parties, and this Friday night was not an exception. We originally headed for one of Philadelphia’s notorious hidden bars, Ranstead Room, but we ran into a snag when it was booked to capacity! Sorry, come back later. Ok, no problem. Of course there were others on my bucket list nearby so we headed for the first one on the list. I create two lists that night, one that were hidden pubs and one that had fireplaces in honor of a wintery December. So, when the hidden bar was unavailable we opted for the fireplace spot.

image3I had not done any further research but I did have a recollection of the name “Dandelion”. It did not sound very Decemberish (dandelions are spring flowers) but due to the close proximity everyone agreed to head for that spot. They followed, and we were all delighted to discover an English Pub! The entrance was extremely classy — urns with fine greenery and ornately carved doorway. Upon entering, the ambiance smacked us in the face. The glow of the fireplace was to the right and the bar was to the left, through velvet curtains. This place was also packed but it was apparently large enough to handle the Friday night crowd.

The bar area did not have seating at first, but with patience we waited until the power seats at the curved end of the bar opened up. All four of us slid onto the stools — Paul, Debbie, Eric and me — and ordered a drink.

Looking around I noticed it was not the usual decor. At ceiling height was a full-size cow statue flanked by assorted antiques. There were numerous collectible treasures and cozy lighting fixtures around this old world pub. The bartenders were attentive and friendly. A patron sitting next to us was enjoying a baked chicken an offered a piece of it to my husband — talk about friendly! He said it was so delicious he wanted him to experience it while we were deciding what to order. Hearing the testimony, we all knew it would be prudent to try something and ordered from the menu — shepherds pie, crab risotto, steak tartar — dishes that were delicious food. British dining?

After the drinks and food, it was late and we paid our tab and headed out onto the street. I decided that I should use the loo before driving home so we all returned inside and noticed there was an upstairs. Whoa! The upstairs portion opened into another gorgeously appointed bar “Man’s Best Friend” and several glamorous dining rooms. Another fireplace, stunning windows and china figurines graced the rooms.

The waiter, Iain, graciously offered information about the restaurtant and took our photos. It’s a Steven Starr restaurant and he was delighted to be one of the core employees, having worked there since the opening in 2010. That evening the upstairs had been packed with holiday parties. It is such a beloved restaurant that on any other evening the rooms are often booked for revelry, frequently with students from Penn. Lucky students!

No wonder this establishment has been reviewed by Zagats and the Food Network. We stumbled upon it for the fireplace. What a treat!

December 13, 2014


Website: http://thedandelionpub.com/

Address: 124 South 18th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone:(215) 558-2500

In The News

Zagat
http://www.zagat.com/r/the-dandelion-philadelphia

Uwishunu
http://www.uwishunu.com/2010/12/the-dandelion-stephen-starrs-newest-philadelphia-restaurant-slated-to-open-next-week-in-rittenhouse-square/

Food Network
http://www.foodnetwork.com/restaurants/pa/philadelphia/the-dandelion-restaurant.html
Food Network VIDEO
http://www.foodnetwork.com/restaurants/pa/philadelphia/the-dandelion-restaurant/the-dandelion-videos-.html


Bourbon Blue

bourbonblueThanksgiving brought out-of-town guests for the weekend and it was great to gather an entourage for the bucket list. It was no question that we would head to Manayunk for the “bucket list” because it is only a mile down the hill to some get to some of the best hot spots of Philly! The bucket list choice was Bourbon Blue, a New Orleans-themed pub.

Joining us that night were my twin sister, Di, and my brother-in-law, Tim, who traveled from Ohio, as well as my nephew, Morgan, and his girlfriend, Lauren, who traveled through a Nor’easter snow storm from Boston!

Situated on the banks of the Schulkill River that runs along Main Street in Manayunk, the Bourbon Blue pub features a cavernous salon with oversized wrought-iron chandeliers dripping with mardi gras beads, known as The Canal Lounge. The host greeted us with a large smile and a card-swipe machine to check IDs.

Tbourbon-bluehe attractive, curved wooden bar as you enter offered many seats, specialty cocktails like the Pomegranate-Cinnamon Old Fashioned and very attentive bartenders. There are round high tables in the center of the carpeted room to offer extra seating near the bar.

Our drinks were reasonably priced. Because we had just come from dinner we did not order any food although we had lots of delicious apps to pick from. During the week they host happy hour daily from 5:30-7:30, just the right time to get out of the city and into Bourbon Blue.

There was live music as we hoped with two musicians playing popular covers. It was a comfortable and lively spot for holiday merriment.

Parking in Manayunk is usually tricky (street and valet) but there is a new parking lot on the river nearby that has an attendant which is very affordable.

November 29, 2014


Bourbon Blue

Address: 2 Rector Street, Philadelphia, PA 19127

Phone:(215) 508-3360

www.bourbonblue.com/

In The News

Drink Philly

http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/210-Bourbon-Blue

I’m a Travel Ninja

http://imatravelninja.com/bourbon-blue-book/

Beer Advocate

http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/30205/?view=ratings


Green Rock Tavern

It was Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and I had a houseful of Thanksgiving guests to take on the bucketlist run! But first, we opted out of the retail shopping pressure and spent the afternoon at my daughter’s house in an upcoming neighborhood near Northern Liberties between Port Richmond and Kensington and Fishtown. (the future Port Richtown?)

We toured Emily and Jim’s new home, enjoying the visits with her pets (3 cats, 3 guinea pigs, two turtles and a dog) and a rousing game of Time’s Up, taking almost two hours! We all agreed it was the most difficult group of celebrity names we ever played — Admiral Horacio Lord Nelson was a long one to guess!

We worked up an appetite and headed, exhausted, for their local pub, Green Rock Tavern. It is a long and narrow local watering hole, with a bar in the front and tables in the rear. The chalkboard displayed the menu with their famous, delicious Pierogies and hummus!

There were eight of us in our party so we pushed together two tables and the friendly bartender came over to talk and see how we were doing. We ordered the local brew, Kenzinger, and burgers and pierogies and played a game of darts. The food was served quickly!

One of the patrons leaned over to tell me about a new game on her phone that she had been playing, called “Heads Up”! It is a game of charades that is quick to play so we did a round together. What a great neighborhood spot!

According to their Facebook post, renovations are just around the bend.

November 28, 2014


Green Rock Tavern
2546 E Lehigh Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
215-203-0840

FaceBook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Rock-Tavern/109299522486417

In The News

Drink Philly
http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/369-Green-Rock-Tavern

Visit Phily
http://www.visitphilly.com/restaurants-dining/philadelphia/green-rock-tavern/


Barbuzzo Mediterranean Kitchen & Bar

" "My twin sister, Diana, arrived from Cleveland to join me for the Thanksgiving holiday and was looking forward to checking out some Philly pubs. So when my son flew home from LA for the holiday too, asking for a ride into Center City to see his friends, she offered to drive us all in.

It just so happens that the night before Thanksgiving is one of the most busiest days of the year for bars. And lucky for us, on Wednesday nights in Center City the parking is free!

Where to go? We dropped him off in Mid-City. near Barbuzzo. Knowing that lunch was farm-fresh and delicious there, I knew it would be a great spot to take her. We entered the long, thin bar and lucked-out with two spots at the end. What a pretty and rustic environment! Because they are known for dishes from farm-to-table they have a beautiful barn door hanging on one wall. There are other rustic touches, including what resembles bushel basket lampshades on the lamps over the bar. We ordered two wines and with our cocktails, enjoyed their delicious caciocavallo stuffed meatballs. Too bad we did not stay for dinner as there are so many delightful things on their menu.

Nov 26, 2014


Website: http://barbuzzo.com

Barbuzzo Mediterranean Kitchen & Bar
Address: 110 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone:(215) 546-9300

In The New

Drink Philly
http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/330-Barbuzzo

Visit Philly
http://food.visitphilly.com/barbuzzo/

Philly.com
http://www.philly.com/philly/food/restaurants/20101205_Barbuzzo.html


East Girard Gastropub

With boating season ending we started the new bucket list season. I had one place in particular to investigate — Garage, in South Philly. I missed this pub in my research the past few years so I really wanted to check it out. Even friends who drove for days from Montana to Philly last month stopped in there for a quick cold brew when they bought Geno’s and Pat’s hoagies during a visit with us. We drove down and orbited the block but could not find Garage nor a parking spot! We saw Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar, Geno’s and Pat’s but could not find Garage. Disappointed, we drove away.
" "

EGG-1We headed to Fishtown for a place called EGG. The address led us to the corner of Girard and Frankford. I did not know at the time that EGG stands for East Girard Gastropub. Silhouettes of patrons could be seen in the windows facing the street. The pub is the standard size, a long and thin establishment with a long bar along one side and tables and stools on the other side. A chalkboard touted the craft beer offerings and the decor was dark and unassuming but comfy. The music was a good blend of familiar rock and roll. There was a good amount of patrons, all ages, and we were happy to find room at the bar where we perched for our visit.

EGG-2" "The friendly bartender immediately waited on us, serving water (yay) as well as our drinks while offering us the menu. We weren’t hungry for full dinners but found plenty of small plates and appetizer choices. I could not resist the namesake deviled eggs coupled with roasted brussel sprouts. My husband ordered wings, naked with sauce on the side, and he could not resist the macaroni and cheese. The food came quickly and was very tasty. The eggs were adorned with capers and the macaroni was an incredibly white creamy sauce. It was a gastropub experience that did not disappoint, thanks to Chef Rob Holloway. Tuesday through Thursday they offer specials and we are returning on Tuesday for Buck-A-Chuck oysters — $1 each!

http://www.eastgirardpub.com/

November 14, 2014


East Girard Gastropub
200 E Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Phone:(267) 761-9343

In The News

Drink Philly
http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/2021-East-Girard-Gastropub#

Visit Philly
http://www.visitphilly.com/restaurants-dining/philadelphia/east-girard-gastropub/

FooBooz
http://www.phillymag.com/restaurant/east-girard-gastropub/


Sassafras Bar Restaurant and Cafe

" "I heard about Sassafras Bar by my young co-worker who loves beautiful places. I met my girlfriend there for happy hour and although it was long and narrow, we found seats at a big, round wooden table with roomy wooden benches right next to the bar. The decor was very dark and rustic with original tile and woodwork dating back to pre-Y2K turn-of-the-century. The bartender came out from the bar to wait on us, who was charming and professional. When the crowd grew larger he still maintained great service— a class act. When another friend joined us, we ordered from their eclectic menu. We shared an ostrich burger, the tray of “artisanal cheeses of the world” and a deep fried pickle to go with our Cosmo straight-up and Maker’s Marks on the rocks.

The noise level from customers chatting it up was a little deafening but that is to be expected in a popular Center City establishment. However, despite being packed with patrons I was able to hear the music the whole night, swanky 1940’s jazz sounds. It fit the mood of the classic bar.

Upstairs, the ladies room visit was an unusual experience. When I knocked on the door several women replied all at once. Once the parade of women left, I entered and realized why the door was closed for so long. The toilet was sitting in the middle of an expansive room with lounge seating. They were holding court around the china throne. No wonder there was a wait! This bar is a good spot for girls’ night out, apparently.

Overall, it was a very nice evening. The website states “a fixture on Second Street for over 35 years…old-world pub with modern flavor”.

Oct. 10, 2014


Sassafras Bar Restaurant and Cafe

Web Site http://sassafrasbar.com/

Address: 48 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Phone:(215) 925-2317

In The News

Drink Philly –  http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/244-Sassafras# There’s Drinking To Be Done – http://drinkingtobedone.com/sassafras-bar/ Philly Hot List – http://phillyhotlist.cityvoter.com/sassafras-bar/biz/429349


Henry James Saloon

henry james signWe decided that we should stay local because this weather has taken a toll on our energy reserves. What a cold winter we have had in Philadelphia! Manayunk is kind of fancy but the next town–Roxborough–is not. Henry James had some nice reviews so we found it easily and trusted that it would be friendly and not territorial which is the case with some neighborhood bars in Philly. We were not disappointed. The staff was super friendly. There was live entertainment – a guitar player singing popular songs — and the wings that we ordered were delicious. Another plus was low prices! The environment was very attractive and looked like it had been renovated recently.

me in Henry JamesFrom their website: “The Henry James Saloon is a friendly neighborhood bar with great sandwiches, platters and eight great beers on tap. We offer the coldest draft beer in town. We have been in business for 22 years. We support many youth organizations in the Roxborough area (i.e.Roman Catholic high School). The Henry James is a great place to talk about sports. Bring your family in, especially kids! Everyone feels comfortable here.”

http://www.henryjamessaloon.com/

March 7, 2014


Henry James Saloon
577 Jamestown St, Philadelphia, PA 19128
215-483-8460

In The News

Roxborough Manayunk Patch
http://roxborough.patch.com/listings/henry-james-saloon

Urban Spoon
http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/21/1414138/restaurant/Roxborough-Manayunk/Henry-James-Saloon-Philadelphia


Auburn Inn

auburn signMy weekend plan was to get together with twin friends from high school and my twin sister, Diana, in Cleveland, Ohio. Because I am afraid to fly 70 minutes in a plane I chose instead to drive for 8 hours. Color me crazy.

As I was approaching my twin sister’s home town, I got a text message from her, “Meet us at the Auburn Inn, and you are going to hate me because it is a dive and not something more glamorous”. I immediately thought “well, she obviously doesn’t read my blog!”

Weary from a day of driving, I set my navigation device to the Auburn Inn and in the wintry darkness pulled up to an old structure with a big porch that looked like a house. There were no typical tavern neon lights — just a warm glow from the windows, with a lot of cars parked in snow drifts around it. I pulled into the slushy snowy lot and found the last spot. The next thing that I saw was my brother-in- law, Tim, in my windshield! I had arrived safely!

auburn shovelNavigating the slushy snow, we went inside to a charming, busy tavern with lots of happy customers. My twin was already seated in a booth and we hugged and settled into our corner spot. The waitress/bartender came over with typical midwestern friendliness and took our orders. She said it was an “all-you-can-eat fish night, with fresh perch, and if you come back next Friday there will be lines out the door.” Sold. We ordered the fresh fish, ordered some light beer and caught up with each others’ news before continuing the next leg of the journey at our friend’s home.

On the way out the door, I could not help noticing the snow shovel resting between the candy machines. Yep, we were in a darling Ohio dive in the winter.

Feb 2014


Auburn Inn
17755 Ravenna Rd, Chagrin Falls, OH 44023
440-834-9191

In The News

Urban Spoon
http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/16/1431634/restaurant/Cleveland/Auburn-Inn-Chagrin-Falls

Cleveland.com (The Plain Dealer)
http://www.cleveland.com/sun/scoopdujour/index.ssf/2013/04/auburn_inn_a_popular_spot_for.html


Jay’s Elbow Room

jays-elbow-roomThis winter bucket list evening was spent in Maple Shade, New Jersey. We started out at Laurel Lanes and Brewster Pub and by 11 p.m. we were ready for our second stop on a two-stop night. We headed right across the highway to Jay’s Elbow Room for a night cap. The online reviews for Jay’s were all consistent — a true dive bar — and we were looking forward to checking it out.

A True Dive Bar

Outside, the tall highway sign was very retro and the neon sign above the door with two lights out added to the New Jersey highway scene. It was screaming “dive bar”, which is a tradition on our bucket list nights. I can’t explain why we like the unpolished bars so much, except that they feel like a shrine to history. Many other patrons have been there before us, sitting in the same vinyl seat!
jays-elbow-neon
Inside, the place was packed with young happy folk and we orbited the round bar looking for a place to sit. We especially like the round bars versus the long, single row of stools. You can view across the room and do some people watching without your back to the door, depending upon your luck.

The decor was simple with linoleum floors, beer posters and neon lights. Despite the crowd the bartenders at Jay’s were friendly and attentive. The clientele were respectful and happy, including us! Four drinks were served and the bill came to $16. Compared to Center City Philadelphia, that bar tab’s pretty sweet.

Jay’s Elbow Room


2806 New Jersey Route 73
Maple Shade Township, NJ 08052
856-235-3687

In The News

Burlington County Night Out
http://www.burlingtoncountynightout.com/bars/423085/jays-elbow-room

City Search
http://www.citysearch.com/profile/6799358/maple_shade_nj/jay_s_elbow_room.html

Yelp
http://www.yelp.com/biz/jays-elbow-room-maple-shade


Brewsters Pub and Laurel Lanes

brewstersIt was a Friday night in February, with some snow piles five feet high, and we needed to get moving and stretch our frozen muscles. Our New Jersey friends Rich and Sandy joined us on our quest for exercise & elbow bending so we picked a spot midway between us — Brewsters Pub and Laurel Lanes.

Bowling & Brews

We crossed the Betsy Ross Bridge from Philadelphia and a short drive later we saw the word BOWLING brightly lit in the dark sky.  We were immediately impressed with the size of the parking lot and how packed it was. Lots of other people apparently had the same idea! The building, home to the lanes and two food venues, Brewsters Pub and Tony Luke’s, was massive with neon signs beckoning us to come hither.

Brewsters Pub was dark and cozy with a view of the lanes. It was tucked behind a wall of plate glass windows allowing us to watch the action but still have a conversation despite the thunderous sound of pins getting clobbered by bowling balls.  We found four seats at the bar although there were tall table tops available.

laurel-lanesBefore we ordered, we decided to get our names on the list for lanes in case there was a wait. The bowling sign-in counter was staffed with friendly young men and added us to the wait list. When we explained that we were having dinner at Brewsters and would not be able to hear him announce our name, he offered to come down and find us. Nice touch!

Wings and Blings

Back at Brewsters we ordered bar wings, a chicken quesadilla, and salads with grilled chicken to accompany our drinks of bottled beer and cosmos. The food was well prepared and more than filling. The attractive female bartenders were friendly and attentive.

bowler Our bowling experience followed the pub scene. The lanes were washed in electric blue light, the rock music was just like a club and a cocktail waitress was attentive. Into our second game, the overhead blue lights went dark and disco lights began to flash.

There was only one electronic glitch—when the game stopped because the metal arm guard rested in front of the standing pins. We called for help via the intercom and they responded immediately, resetting the pins. It was a fun place to have drinks and feel like athletes at the same time (insert snicker here).

Website:

http://laurellanesnj.com


2825 New Jersey Route 73
Maple Shade Township, NJ 08052
856-778-7467

In The News

AMF
http://amf.com/laurellanes

East Windsor Patch
http://eastwindsor.patch.com/listings/brewsters-pub

Trip Advisor
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46598-d2091103-Reviews-Laurel_Lanes_and_Brewsters_Pub-Maple_Shade_New_Jersey.html

Yelp
http://www.yelp.com/biz/brewsters-pub-maple-shade
http://www.yelp.com/biz/laurel-lanes-maple-shade#query:brewsters%20pub


Brick and Brew

bricknbrewWhat a beautiful place! We tried to get in earlier in the evening but the Brick and Brew was packed. By the end of the evening, the crowd had thinned and we were able to get to the bar and find seats.  At the other bars on the bucket list that night, we held back on ordering any food so that we could enjoy their well known pizza. Too bad– the kitchen closed! We were unable to enjoy the gastro grub.

Craft Beer Here

We ordered from their 12 rotating craft beer list. I had a special cocktail from their chalk board assortment, which was very tasty – a lemonade flavored mix with vodka and fresh basil. It was refreshing on a winter night.

The decor was very hip. With a nod to their name “Brick and Brew”, wooden half-barrels were hung high on the brick walls mixed with urban metal struts and chalkboards on all of the walls posting their offerings of burgers, pizza, craft brews and cocktails. The female bartenders were skilled and friendly and there was a nice crowd. We look forward to returning to try out their grub.


Brick and Brew
2138 Darby Rd
Havertown, PA 19083
(484) 455-7250

http://bricknbrewpub.com

In The News

Bar Finder
http://www.barfinder.com/listings/brick-and-brew-62586-details.aspx

Haverford Havertown Patch
http://haverford.patch.com/groups/business-news/p/brick-and-brew-opens-in-havertown

Trip Advisor
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g52800-d5121833-r184729816-Brick_and_Brew-Havertown_Pennsylvania.html


The Crossbar

thecrossbarI collected a few locations of pubs for my bucket list for the night in Havertown — the burbs. All of the choices were irish pubs and parking was plenty. We did not realize that three pubs were within walking distance of one another, a plus.

In my research, I read that the location of The Crossbar was convenient because the bar across the street was very popular! It was often packed and the overflow of people usually crossed the street to The Crossbar when they could not get in to the popular bar. Curious, after reading that review, of course we planned to go to the more popular bar first. We attempted to get in but it WAS packed as the review had warned, so we did as others had done before us. We crossed Darby Road and headed into The Crossbar.crossbar-logo

 Irish Pub in Havertown

Apparently there are many Irish pubs in Havertown. This Irish pub was tiny, thin and cozy with dark wood, ceiling fans, and a beautiful exposed brick wall. A handsome sculpture of the logo carved in wood adorned the front window. We found a high-top table for three at the end of the busy room and were waited on immediately and ordered craft beers. The crowd was mostly young & attractive people–no families on this cold winter night. The service was quick and friendly. We didn’t order food, waiting for the pizza at the bar across the street!


The Crossbar
2225 East Darby Rd
Havertown, PA 19083
610-449-4200

thecrossbarhavertown.com

In The News

Yelp
http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-crossbar-havertown

Local Yahoo
http://local.yahoo.com/info-119132644-the-crossbar-havertown?csz=Ardmore%2C+PA


The Oakmont National Pub

oakmontOn a snowy night Eric, Ted and I decided to hit the burbs for an evening of comaraderie and pub exploration as well as free parking! I already received two parking tickets from the City of Brotherly Love and maxed out my monthly quota. The bucket list was Irish Pubs in Havertown, Pennsylvania and we found our first pub after only a ten minute drive.

 The Corner Tavern

The Oakmont National Pub is an established corner tavern on Eagle Road. Walking in the front door, we were immediately greeted by friendly staff welcoming us. There was a two person band performing very current music, like Imagine Dragons, and singer had a great voice. Architecturally, the room has the feeling of a grand hall with high arching ceiling and wood paneled walls. The bar hugged one wall and a row of elevated booths line the opposite wall so the center of the hardwood floored room was very open and there were large screen TVs, perfect for sports fans.

We took our seats at the bar, which was decorated with a glamorous Valentine theme of pillar candles and red hearts. The bartender waited on us immediately, again with the smiling staff, and we enjoyed a house cabernet sauvignon and craft beer. The American cuisine menu looked good, but we did not order – next time! All ages and types were enjoying their night.


http://oakmontpub.com/

Owner: Brendan Goggin

Oakmont National Pub
31 E Eagle Rd, Havertown, PA 19083
610-789-4000

In The News

Philadelphia Menu Pages
http://philadelphia.menupages.com/restaurants/oakmont-national-pub/

Haverford Havertown Patch
http://haverford.patch.com/listings/oakmont-national-pub

Haverford Havertown Patch – Meet The Owner
http://haverford.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/meet-the-owner-of-oakmont-pub


12 Steps Down

12 Steps Down Group Therapy Bar

12stepsOff to Bella Vista for the next location, 12 Steps Down. Get ready to inhale smoke! You literally walk down a set of concrete steps from the city street level into this underground dive bar, with permission to smoke your cigarettes and cigars! We were thrilled to find friendly staff and kick ass bartenders. (Funny to be carded at the entrance even though we are obviously way past 30.) The decor was truly dive — non-descript of the linoleum floor and ripped vinyl kind. Pleasantly unassuming.

12steps-boardA Limoncello For My Wife

Although packed with people on this winter night, the spacious pub was not too crowded. In the center of the room there was a full circle bar with a pool table along the back, hopping with a game going on. The tiny female bartender with a mohawk and enormous dangling star earrings was smiling as she worked, actively checking on all customers needs and pacing the bar nonstop. She suggested a Limoncello for me. A lemon wedge and a glass of sugar accompanied a shot glass with the lemon flavored, biting liquid…it all comes together in your mouth. It must be a South Philly tradition. It was a great last stop for the night.

January 2014


http://www.12stepsdown.com/
831 Christian St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
215-238-0379

In The News

The Drink Nation
http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/187-12-Steps-Down

Philly Beer Week
http://www.phillybeerweek.org/bio.cfm?code=18

Philly-ism
http://philly-ism.com/2013/11/dive-bar-isms-12-steps-down/


South Philadelphia Tap Room

SPTR-barIn the Point Breeze area of Philadelphia, we were looking forward to check out SPTR after learning it had the same owners as Brew and American Sardine Bar. The sidewalk entryway was adorned with a classy planter and the bar area exposed a warmly rustic room. Laughing people were sitting at the table to the right, usually a good sign. The decor is composed of tiles, brick, wood, art and artistic lighting. The wall behind the bar held a very attractive mirrors, their logo and the line of taps indicated that they offered lots of craft beer – 14 taps I heard.

Long on Craft Beer But Short on Service

We walked in further to see the rest of the restaurant and asked the waitress if there was a second floor with music by any chance. She greeted us with a bored face and short answer, no. We went to the bar and the bartenders gave us the same facial expression, asking what do you want? No smiles. We ordered and asked for menus. They were delivered, again with a non-welcoming face. Ok, my friend tried to be jovial and asked about “the special” and the reply was deadpan. Three bartenders and a barback huddled at the end of the bar looking at some paper. By this time we started to feel like they were not really happy we were there, so instead of ordering we finished up our drinks and moved along. Too bad.

Apparently they have been in business for ten years and had good things written about them online. We had hoped it was going to be a nice first visit! Maybe they have become complacent with their notoriety? The owners better be careful and check in on the staff here, at least on Friday nights in the winter.
January 2014


http://www.southphiladelphiataproom.com/index2.html
1509 Mifflin Street,
Philadelphia, Pa 19145

Philly.com
http://www.philly.com/philly/food/restaurants/20100530_South_Philadelphia_Taproom.html

Food Newtwork
http://www.foodnetwork.com/restaurants/pa/philadelphia/south-philadelphia-tap-room-restaurant.html

Philly Beer Week
http://www.phillybeerweek.org/bio.cfm?code=344


GIGI – It’s always fun at Gigi

GIGIKicking off another winter, we headed for Gigi — right in the heart of Old City on Market Street. Our good friend Zep Harpo was playing harmonica that night so we followed him into this very friendly place and luckily two spots were open at the bar at the front of the restaurant. Zep was playing with Johnny Never, a talented guitarist and singer with a playlist of great old blues. Great duo!

Top Notch Night for Music and Food

The staff was top notch and the owners, Reggie, Denise and Tom, came over and introduced themselves. That kind of welcoming has been unheard of on our Friday nights so we were very impressed. Reggie was very friendly and obviously proud of their establishment, excitedly telling us how they started up the partnership and where it is going. Big plans! It is due for a complete renovation with a new name “4 Fathers Philadelphia”, which stands for the four Founding Fathers of the United States. The name is perfect for Philadelphia, seeped in history of the birth of America. Once the restaurant is reopened and doing well there will be more 4 Fathers – Boston, etc. We hope they do well!

ZepHarpo-JohnnyNever.
We had some delicious food in addition to our drinks — Edamame, Gigi wings and hot soup of the day. Their menu offered a healthy range of options from cheese steaks to salads. We hope they keep the healty choices on the next menu. The environment was clean, attractive and cozy – a long bar along the left and tables to the right, with dining in the rear. In the summertime they take advantage of a pergola covered side porch decorated with classic colonial pillars. We will return when they transform it into their new vision — if only just to talk again to Reggie and Denise! They make you feel special.

January 2014


http://www.gigiphilly.com/
319 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-574-8880

In The News

YELP
http://www.yelp.com/biz/gigi-restaurant-and-lounge-philadelphia

Philly Hotlist
http://phillyhotlist.cityvoter.com/gigi-restaurant-and-lounge/biz/12678

YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5YiavbsAvs


Stateside Saloon

Stateside Saloon

Stateside Saloon

Stateside

Known for small plates and a great chef, Stateside received Philly Magazine’s #1 spot in a restaurant review so we made reservations weeks in advance. This visit was on a Saturday night, not a Friday, so it was not an official “Bucket List” night. However it was on the original bucket list and we decided to include it.

Stateside Saloon

Stateside Saloon

Where In The World Is Pappy Van Winkle?

We arrived early in order to experience the bar, but it turned out that the place was so small that the tables were IN the bar. We visited with Ross and Vicki, and Ross asked the bartender for something special. They served Pappy Van Winkle. He ordered two “2 finger” (double) Pappy Van Winkles for the guys and two Cosmos for the ladies. Each shot of Pappy is $30 because it is a very rare find. Graciously Ross picked up the bar tab because the bill for drinks alone was $140!

We created a meal of the delicious small plates, which included Duck sausage, created by famous chef George Sabatino. The guys had another round of Pappy and the girls enjoyed more cosmopolitans and sweet desserts.

February 2013


1536 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 551-2500
http://statesidephilly.com/

In The News

Trip Advisor
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60795-d2487776-Reviews-Stateside-Philadelphia_Pennsylvania.html

Foobooz
http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/tag/stateside/

Philly.com
http://www.philly.com/philly/food/20120318_Stateside.html


Tired Hands Brewing Company

Tired Hands logo

Tired Hands logo

Tired Hands

On a cold night in January with wind chill, snow drifts and an active flu season to battle we explored locally again in the burbs. The internet results included the familiar pubs but a new name to us popped up – Tired Hands cafe and craft brewery.

Tired Hands Upstairs Bar

Tired Hands Upstairs Bar

We met new friends, Pamela and Joseph there. The decor felt like we were in a bar in Colorado, with antlers hanging in the architectural cross beams in the ceiling and rustic wood walls, floors, and tables. Exposed brick walls were rustic and cozy. It was so totally transformed that we wondered “what used to be here?”

They have a Farmers’ Menu – locally grown produce and cheese/meat boards – to accompany the craft brews. We tried the fare—cheese board and roasted green beans in olive oil and herbs—and enjoyed the craft beer served by a slim young man in a fedora!

They brew their own, including a very elegant 13% dark Saison on tap called “Westy13”, apparently favored by the ladies.

January 2013


16 Ardmore Ave
Ardmore, PA 19003
(610) 896-7621

http://www.tiredhands.com/

In The News

The Ardmore Patch

http://ardmore.patch.com/listings/tired-hands-brewing-company

Beer Advocate

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/28383

Fooboz

http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/tag/tired-hands-brewing/

Drink Nation

http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/2649-Tired-Hands-Brewing


Fiume

Fiume Bar

Fiume Bar

Fiume

Christmas gift giving was successful and New Years Eve was over. Happy Year! Our good friend Jack lived in the neighborhood so we managed to inspire him to brave the cold and join us, leaving Susan at home sick (sorry honey!)

Another find from an internet search, we discovered an official Philly hidden bar — Fiume. We loved everything about this surprising little pub, out of sight on the second floor, above a corner African restaurant, Abyssinia. Abyssinia’s bar was nearly empty and Fiume was packed!
 Every table and seats at the bar were filled even though it was winter break and the college kids were gone.

The gregarious bartender explained that they had 120 bottled brews and 40 whiskeys available, which was a mind game to figure out where they hid all of it. Jack entertained us with stories of Michigan and his hi-jinks as a tree surgeon in his youth.

January 2013


45th and Locust St
Philadelphia, PA 19139

In The News

FooBooz
philadelphia.foobooz.com/tag/fiume/‎

Philadelphia Weekly
http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com

The Beer Advocate
beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/23406/?view=beerfly&ba=TheStig‎


Downey’s – Drinking House Dining Saloon

downeys 2011

Downey’s
Drinking House Dining Saloon

A freezing winter night, we met up on Ted’s sailboat and decided to explore Society Hill. Downeys is a well-known Irish pub with dark walls and a round bar. Eric, Ted and I found a place to hang in the noisy crowd.

The place was packed with dating couples and groups of men and it was Kareoke Night. I have a vague memory of singing Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby” but the sound system was overwhelmed by the boisterous conversations.

February 2011


526 S Front St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 625-9500
Owner: Chef-owner Domenico Centofanti bought it from Jack Downey in 2003.
Opened in 1976.
http://downeysrestaurant.com

From Their Website:

“The restaurant is located in the city’s premier neighborhood, Society Hill. The rich mahogany bar, wood panels and stained glass panes were imported from Country Cork in Ireland…Grub Street Philadelphia: Downey’s received a Spike TV’s Bar Rescue makeover in 2011.”

In The News:

Grub Street – Bar Rescue

http://philadelphia.grubstreet.com/2011/07/americas_worst_irish_bar_its.html

City Paper

http://www.citypaper.net/blogs/criticalmass/ADVENTURES-IN-KARAOKE-Downeys-Irish-Pub.html

Foodie

http://www.phoodie.info/2011/07/25/in-case-you-missed-it-downeys-on-spike-tvs-bar-rescue/


Hop Sing Laundromat

Hop Sing Laundromat

Hop Sing Landromat

Hop Sing Laundromat

The month was March, the winter was almost over, and it was a final Bucket List night. For the occasion I checked the web for something different, a “hidden bar”. Ever heard of Hop Sing Laundry?

We drove to China Town, stepped out of the car, and felt the chilly wind as we walked the barren winter sidewalk. By tracking the street addresses of the local shops and restaurants we deduced where we thought the place might be. We spotted four people huddling in the cold facing a metal grate the size of a door next to a doorbell.  Ah-ha!

The face of an asian man wearing a knit cap and glasses peeked through the unopened grate and asked how many parties. “Two”. The first four were escorted in and he told the three of us “Please wait here.” In the cold shivering? Really?

Finally, an enormous and well-dressed bouncer escorted us up an unlit stairway to a small dark lobby and pointed to a wooden bench. “Take a seat, get out your IDs and wait for Mr. Lee to explain the house rules.” House rules? Cool. We his followed directions without question, feeling like we were in The Soup Nazi line in the Seinfeld episode and within five minutes

Mr. Lee appeared and perused our identification. “First let me apologize for my club.” (The guy had a shtick!) He explained the house rules, which included no photos and no cell phones. “We will escort you to a private room to make a phone call if you have to speak to your future ex-wife”. We passed the inspection.

He led us, calling us individually by name (remembering the IDs!), to the vast and ornate main room with a vaulted ceiling. The main room was decorated with elaborately framed artwork stretching the length and height of each wall.  One of the paintings was a portrait of a magnificently dressed man’s body with a dog’s head. Classy couples were seated at the linen-covered tables.

We occupied three stools next to the mirrored bar with a view of the bartenders shaking the cocktail shakers and the waiters gliding about, delivering peach, amber and blue spirits sold at a fixed price of $12 per drink—a low price for a major city. The drink menu focused on unusually named concoctions and a tale associated with each, like the Little Big Horn. It was a glamorous night and Mr. Lee stopped by to make sure we were keeping our expectations low.

March 2013

___

unmarked storefront at 1029 Race Street
Philadelphia, PA
19107

In The News

http://www.phillymag.com/tag/hop-sing-laundromat/

http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/2300-Hop-Sing-Laundromat

http://www.uwishunu.com/2013/08/hop-sing-laundromat-shakes-things-up-at-jamonera-with-a-one-night-only-collaboration-on-monday-august-12/


The Sidecar Bar & Grill

The Sidecar Bar & Grill

The Sidecar Bar & Grill

The Sidecar Bar & Grill


Our good friends Susan and Jack joined us on this cold winter bucket list run to the Sidecar Bar and Grill. After locating the arty hanging sign of a speeding sidecar above the front door, we walked in or rather squeezed our way in past everyone in the doorway, continuing to squeeze through the crowd long after we had entered. Apparently this was a hot spot.

The bar had no empty stools and the tables were filled with people eating with a late night dining scene offering burgers and hummus platters. They had a large craft beer menu and the waitress with many tattoos was extremely friendly, recommending that we hang out near the juke box until something opens up. Drinks in hand we obliged and talked over the rock music.

Soon a waitress escorted us upstairs to the only empty table in an equally crowded and noisy second floor, past the second bar. Despite the noise levels we had a nice time catching up with Jack and Susan noshing on a big plate of nachos around midnight.

Buzz Alert: Known for a top-notch Sunday brunch, the Sidecar Bar & Grill is owned by William Reed, who also owns Standard Tap. The film crew from the TV show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” came to the Sidecar & The Standard Tap to discuss filming a future episode.

March 2013 –


2201 Christian St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 732-3429

http://www.thesidecarbar.com/


In The News

http://www.flavortownusa.com/locations/635/sidecar-bar-and-grille

http://www.foodnetwork.com/local/pa-philadelphia/sidecar-bar-and-grille-restaurant/index.html#/38.736171/-97.222306/4/

http://www.phillymag.com/foobooz/2013/04/29/sidecar-bar-grille-on-diners-drive-ins-and-dives-tonight/


Campbell’s Place

Campbell’s Place

Campbell's Pub

Campbell’s Place


We started out on Ted’s boat to float and toast to life. Sadly, Ted’s wife who was “too-young-to-leave-us” had recently passed away so we honored her and grieved together onboard Victoria, the boat she shared with him.

Ted had plans to embark on a road trip with his Dad the next day, so, after our onboard toast we headed to Chestnut Hill near Ted’s parents’ neighborhood. Chestnut Hill has many good drinking holes.

Ted’s first selection was Campbell’s Place. It had attractive decor with brick walls and original artwork on the walls visible with indirect lighting. There were delicious aromas of food delivered to all of the pretty people sitting at the very crowded bar. We shared a chicken and cheese sandwich, macaroni and cheese and roasted garlic brussel sprouts.

A long-haired local (I think it was a radio celeb) leaned against the wall at the end of the bar, looking sullen and emitting the forelorn look of an artist but he allowed a big smile to escape when a young woman approached him.  The young blond  wearing a tight sweater, heels and no pants (beige leggings) paraded back and forth from the bathroom to the front of the bar, entertaining everyone with her attire or lack of. (Note to self  “beige leggings draw attention”.)

March 2013 –

http://www.campbellsplace.com/

215-242-1818
8337 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19118

In The News

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/top-lists/top-spots-to-eat-in-chestnut-hill/

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/584925

http://chestnuthilllocal.com/blog/2013/11/27/mary-ellen-campbell-tavern-owner/


Towey’s Tavern

Towey’s Tavern

Toweys Tavern

Toweys Tavern

After the meal at Campbell’s, Ted took us for a stroll up the street for a brew at the unassuming Towey’s Tavern. It was old-school bar decor, with tile floor, cigarette and beer  smell and non-matching stools. Not crowded but busy, his old neighborhood hang-out had cheap beer and a dart board.

At the bar, one middle age frumpy guy sat in the corner, bending over his 2 flat beers with a cigarette extended from his drinking hand. From the hunched shoulders his face was buried into a bar-top arcade game. Soon his buddy arrived, the second beer made sense, and the blue arcade light reflected off both their old faces while they enjoyed the game. It was kind of heart-warming on a cold winter night – to see the bonding of these two old guys, the bonding that these neighborhood bars are known for.

March 2013 –
—-

7829 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19118
Neighborhood: Chestnut Hill
(215) 247-2029

In The News

http://chestnuthill.patch.com/listings/toweys-tavern-3

http://www.switchboard.com/business/toweys-tavern-philadelphia-pa


The American Sardine Bar

The American Sardine Bar

“Where are we going tonight?” Eric wanted to know because it was Friday. It had been a great winter and he was looking forward to another fun night. I read about this place via Facebook and its unusual name etched a picture in my brain – The American Sardine Bar. We like sardines, but sardine bar?

I googled the location and it meant returning to South Philly, deep into a neighborhood known as Point Breeze. In addition to reading about the bar I also read about the crime in Point Breeze but this tavern was too intriguing to pass up. Plus famous foodie Anthony Bourdain had visited recently according to my friend on Facebook.

The sign hanging above the front door on the corner was a gigantic 3-D sardine can with a lid curled back. Intriguing. The interior décor included dark red walls and curtains, giving it a vintage bar feel but with unusual menu items on the chalkboards. We didn’t come in expecting to eat buy Air Bear the tattooed bartender set us up with 4 different kinds of sardines, pickle eggs served in shot glasses on the house, and three sardine sliders for appetizers. We completed our impromtu feast with family-style bowls of macaroni and cheese, sauteed brussell sprouts and a pulled pork sandwich that we split three ways. Add to the food three craft beers and we were in gastro-pub heaven.

We never made it down the aisle to the famous jukebox, which has left a trail of impressed customers, especially for “Suicide’s self-titled ’77 debut album”. Next time. There were lots of police cars circling the block around the bar. Apparently Mayor Nutter’s call for cleaning up Point Breeze has been heard.

Feb 2013 –


1801 Federal St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 334-2337

http://www.americansardinebar.com/

In The News

http://www.phillymag.com/restaurant/american-sardine-bar/

http://www.philly.com/philly/food/20120610_American_Sardine_Bar.html

http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/food/reviews/american-sardine-bar-point-breeze.html

http://www.phillybeerweek.org/bio.cfm?code=476


Doobie’s Bar

Doobie's Bar

Doobie’s Bar

Doobie’s Bar

It was a cold, wet winter and this was another rainy, cold Friday night in Philly which made us grateful to have the bucket list for entertainment when the summer boating was just a distant memory.

We decided to try Center City for a change and checking the map we found Doobies. I have been driving past Doobie’s for twenty years and never thought I would step foot inside ever.

Doobie's Bar

Doobie’s Bar

It was packed with talkative, laughing people and there were no empty bar stools or tables at first.

Once we ordered our drinks, a table opened up right behind us. Ted and his friend Gayle met up with us just as we were sitting down.

Doobies loves animals. There were 2 little fluffy pooches at the next table, so we were petting them while we sipped our cocktails. There was a huge pile of board games off the bar and the waitress was super friendly.

February 2013 –

2201 Lombard St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 546-0316

In The News

http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/195-Doobies

http://blog.philadelphiarealestate.com/ya-cant-polish-a-turd-doobies-is-a-dive/

http://www.phillybeerweek.org/bio.cfm?code=82


Happy Holidays at Paddy’s Old City Pub

Paddy's Bar

Paddy’s Bar

Paddy’s Bar

Besides being the namesake bar of the funny TV comedy show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”  Paddy’s is a classic blue-collar neighborhood Irish bar, located down near the Delaware River under one of the bridges.

Paddy's Chalkboard

Paddy’s Chalkboard

We are very fond of Paddy’s. No frills. No “No Smoking”. It is a long, thin establishment with décor of green walls and a few framed photos of Irish catholic heroes on the walls, looking as if they were hung in the 1960s without much thought, coated with dust and smoke tar. The bar stools are in need of patches.

Ted joined us, introducing us to his friend Money, a long-haired handsome sailor from New Jersey and Money’s girlfriend Rose, a beautiful young social butterfly from Poland who told stories of her acting career to everyone she landed upon.

The bar’s “Greedy Santa” game was in progress at the end of the bar, with potluck dishes served from foil pans and plastic bowls. No pretense. Just a friendly holiday party at Paddy’s.

December 2012


228 Race St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 627-3532

In The News

The namesake Paddy’s from Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Wikipedia)

Reviews on Yelp


Flip & Bailey’s

Flip & Bailey's Pub

Flip & Bailey’s Pub

Flip & Bailey’s

After the successful launch of the third Bucket List season in South Philly, Eric and I were psyched to see if there were any decent pubs in the burbs. Ted came over and we headed west toward Conestoga Road to find Flip and Bailey’s.

As Murphy’s Law would have it, we immediately had a mishap at the start of the evening. Eric had backed his new SUV into a pole while at the gas station and crunched his new fender. A badge of good times?

Hard to find in the early winter darkness on a curvy road, we finally came upon the attractive modern bar. There were very few patrons and it was very quiet. The style of the interior included new wood tables and windowsills with shiny hardwood floors, not a dive kind of place.

The huge, athletic bouncer at the door with nothing to do readily explained that Flip & Baileys is home to the college crowd and the emptiness was due to winter break. When courses are in session the bar is known for penny drinks on Friday nights – sure to attract the coeds.  With the bar to ourselves, we enjoyed listening to Ted’s tales of survival from an ocean storm on his sailboat.

December 2012

Flip & Bailey's logo

Flip & Bailey’s logo


900 Conestoga Road,
Rosemont, PA
610-527-4826

http://wp.flipandbaileys.com/

In The News

BrynMawr-Gladwyne Patch

http://brynmawr.patch.com/listings/flip-baileys-bar-grill

Beer Advocate

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/25634/?view=events


Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar

Ray's Happy Birthday Bar

Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar

Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar

With the boating season done and Thanksgiving guests gone, I dusted off my bucket list from 2011 and decided to research some new places and refresh the list. The first place to catch my eye had a curious name — Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar. Their web site boasts that “you can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning” — they begin pouring at 7AM six days a week.

Ray's Happy Birthday Bar Sign

Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar Sign

Being a fan of birthdays and neighborhood pubs, it quickly became tops on the list. Despite the cold rainy night, we plugged in the address in the GPS and took off for South Philly.

Through the darkness and rain, Ray’s sign illuminated the street corner and we found a parking spot a few feet from the door. We found two empty stools right next to a twinkling Christmas tree decorated with old 45s and did some people watching.

Observing that Ray’s had a “special” we ordered two of them – a shot and a beer for $4 each — which prompted the bartender to ring a bell. Congratulations, we made it to Rays! As promised, it was karaoke night and the crooner in the packed side room was screeching with abandon to the room filled with a queue of waiting singers.
We sat near a Christmas Tree decorated with old 45s and watched people at the bar. Observing they had a “special” we ordered two of them – a shot and a beer for $4 – and the bartender rang a bell. The karaoke female singer in the back room was screeching.

December 2012


1200 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 365-1169

http://www.thehappybirthdaybar.com/

In The News

Drink Nation

http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/353-Rays-Happy-Birthday-Bar

Grub Street

http://philadelphia.grubstreet.com/2011/06/rays_happy_birthday_bar_is.html

Philadelphia Weekly

http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/drink/guide/Rays-Happy-Birthday-Bar-64272842.html

Uwishunu

http://www.uwishunu.com/2008/04/rays-happy-birthday-bar/


Teresa’s Next Door

Teresa's Cafe and Next Door

Teresa’s Cafe and Next Door

Teresa’s Next Door

The Main Line suburban pubs were in our drinking establishments cross-hairs. Ted, Eric and I were happy to discover a Belgian beer pub that rivaled Monks in Center City — Teresa’s Next Door.

Teresa's Next Door

Teresa’s Next Door

Walking in the front door the first thing we saw was a very long, tall wall displaying half-pint glasses adorned with belgian beer logos of every brand they offered. My thought upon seeing that level of detail was the knowledge that it would require constant maintenance of the barware to match the offerings on tap and bottle. In front of the long wall of glasses was an equally lengthy, shiny metal bar top providing a roost to a scattered and quiet clientele of attractive guys.

Being a gastro pub, we ordered the wings which were juicy and tasty.

December 2012


126 N Wayne Ave
Wayne, PA 19087
(610) 293-9909
http://www.teresas-cafe.com/

In The News

Urban Spoon

http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/21/257993/restaurant/Philadelphia/Main-Line/Teresas-Next-Door-Wayne

Zagat

http://www.zagat.com/r/teresas-next-door-wayne

Beer Advocate

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/16185

The Drink Nation

http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/448-Teresas-Next-Door

FooBooz

http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/tag/teresas-next-door/


P.O.P.E.

The Pub on Passyunk East

Eric, Ted and I were well fed after the sardine feast at the last pub and psyched about the success of that bucket list achievement, the bar with the funny name.  We hopped in the car, crossed over a few blocks using the navigation system, and found The Pub On Passyunk East aka The POPE.

Arriving around midnight, we spotted happy, well-dressed people reveling outside the front door of the pub. We entered and squeezed single file through the crowd in the doorway to the end of the bar. It was a darkly warm establishment, with old woodwork, molding around the ceiling and walls and spacious rooms in the back for dining. The vibe in the POPE was up.

Everyone was friendly, wholesome and handsome. We ordered Kenzingers, a Philly local brew, and listened to classic rock and roll between conversations. A roomy and classic neighborhood pub, the crowd was committed to staying until last call but feeling very satisfied we called it a night with a promise to return.

1501 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 755-5125

http://www.pubonpassyunkeast.com/

In The News

http://www.phillymag.com/tag/pub-on-passyunk-east/

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/15173/?view=ratings

http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/113-Pub-on-Passyunk-East

http://www.phillybeerweek.org/bio.cfm?code=341


Mako’s Retired Surfer Bar & Grill

Mako's Retired Surfer Bar

Mako’s Retired Surfer Bar

Mako’s Retired Surfers Bar & Grill

The Chesapeake City gang of friends (TR, Danielle, Mariah, Andy) came up to Philly for the weekend to visit their friend, the owner of Mako’s! The music was jumping and the place known for 50 cent PBR was packed.

Mako's Retired Surfer Bar

Mako’s Retired Surfer Bar

There was an internet rumor (on Yelp) that Flavo Flav hung out there and yes, we saw him (his doppleganger) wearing the telltale headress bedecked with bull horns and a gold medallion swinging across his brown neck and chest. He kicked it up a notch.

We laughed and danced until 2 AM and Mariah danced on top of the bar in a mini skirt!

April 2011


301 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
215-625-3677

In The News

FOOBOOZ

http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/tag/makos-retired-surfers-bar/

Philly Dive

http://phillydive.blogspot.com/2011/04/makos.html


Bridget Foy’s

Bridget Foy’s

After stopping at Downey’s we crossed the frigid street quickly in seek of warmth and to explore our second spot.  Bridget Foy’s lounge was dark, quiet and very classy with a brass bar top.

bridget foys inside

Bridget Foy's

Bridget Foy’s

Eric, Ted and I stopped in for just one drink and found seats easily. A hipster sitting near me, scarf wrapped around his neck, kept his head down and stared at his smart phone while using fingerless gloves.

February 2011


200 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 922-1813
Owner: John Foy

http://bridgetfoys.com

From Their Website:

The cornerstone of Philadelphia’s most happening street. Breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week with dining options including Gluten free, brunch, kids and home delivery. Bridget Foy’s, open for business since 1978, is American fare.

In The News

Zagat Review

http://www.zagat.com/r/bridget-foys-philadelphia

Philadelphia Business Journal

http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/stories/2010/05/03/smallb1.html?page=all

The Drink Nation

http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/269-Bridget-Foys

UWISHUNU

http://www.uwishunu.com/2012/01/bridget-foys-hosts-mussels-mondays-mussels-beer-or-wine-for-12/


Tattooed Mom

Tattooed Mom

Tattooed Mom Sign

Tattooed Mom

Beer. Food. Fun.

The inky logo and name for Tatooed Mom attracted my attention in a local paper so it became our third stop in the night.

Despite the darkness we saw colorful graffiti-style artwork on every surface including vintage circus mural art hanging on the walls. There were little toys and candy spread out on the bar and tables.

Probably because it was a freezing winter night, it was not crowded and the bartender was very friendly. With drinks in hand we headed upstairs and jumped into some out-of-commission amusement park cars to imbibe and tell stories and listen to the music. The art was visually exciting.

February 2011


530 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 238-9880
http://tattooedmomphilly.com
Owner: Catheline Sughes

From Their Website:

“Tattooed Mom is a melting pot of good people of every stripe. We’re the perfect spot for a casual lunch, dinner or late night snack with an always yummy bar menu and ever changing draft list of the best local and regional beer.”

In The News:

Philadelphia Weekly

http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/drink/guide/tattooed_mom-38044589.html

Drink Nation

http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/95-Tattooed-Mom

Foobooz

http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/tag/tattooed-moms/

Grub Street

http://philadelphia.grubstreet.com/2012/11/worlds-weirdest-restaurants-at-tattooed-mom.html


North Bowl Lounge and Lanes

North-Bowl-in-Northern-Liberties

North Bowl Lounge and Lanes

Strikingly Different

The North Bowl Lounge and Lanes in Northern Liberties is very popular. On the first floor near the entryway there is a very loud lounge filled with customers waiting for their turn to bowl.

North-Bowl-in-Northern-Liberties-in-Philadelphia-7Despite a ton of lanes in this bowling alley, on two floors no less, there was a two hour wait!  Luckily the pub had a tempting menu (a plus for being vegan friendly) and we enjoyed a zillion kinds of tater-tots.

We never did get to a lane but the buzz in the place was very energizing.  There were swarms of attractive women, one of them lifting her shirt repeatedly to show off her new tats on her back. The bright arcade lights inspired Ted to buy white underpants from a vending machine, or maybe the muse was the lass with the new tats.

January 2011


909 N 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19123
215-238-2695

http://northbowlphilly.com

Opened 2006.

From Their Website:

“North Bowl is the ultimate hang-out…From the retro benches from bowling alleys of the 50s to the sculptural bar and glass enclosed pod that overlooks the downstairs lanes from the lounge, North Bowl is a place that is truly unique in Philadelphia.”

In The News

Visit Philly
http://www.visitphilly.com/nightlife/philadelphia/north-bowl/

Drink Nation
http://philly.thedrinknation.com/bars/profile/495-North-Bowl

Philly.com
http://www.philly.com/philly/food/North-Bowl-plans-a-South-Philly-offshoot.html

FooBooz
http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/tag/north-bowl/

Black Book Mag
http://www.blackbookmag.com/guides/details/north-bowl-northern-liberties

Philly Hotlist
http://phillyhotlist.cityvoter.com/north-bowl/biz/12936


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